1 Villanova University Department of Education and Counseling Master s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master s in School Counseling Program Evaluation Report (May 2015) This report is located on the webpage for the department of education and counseling. Stakeholders were directed to the report through correspondence on May 15 th 2015.
2 The following report is written in accordance with CACREP Standard I.AA. which states that each counseling program Distribute an official report that documents outcomes of the systematic program evaluation, with descriptions of any program modifications, to students currently in the program, program faculty, institutional administrators, personnel in cooperating agencies (e.g., employers, site supervisors), and the public. CACREP Section I. EVALUATION AA. Program faculty members engage in continuous systematic program evaluation indicating how the mission, objectives, and student learning outcomes are measured and met. The plan includes the following: 1. A review by program faculty of programs, curricular offerings, and characteristics of program applicants. Each year, the Department of Education and Counseling receives approximately 150 applications to its program. In order to have a new class of 25 students, we accept 45 applicants. The review process begins soon after the application deadline of February first. All of the applications are equally distributed among the full-time graduate faculty who participate in the review process. During the review, the application is assigned scores (1-3 points) on each of the following criteria: undergraduate GPA, statement of experiences and goals, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, work/ volunteer experience, diverse experiences, writing sample, and undergraduate degree subject. At the start of Fall 2015, the program admissions committee will also require an interview. Once all applicants are reviewed, the counseling faculty meet to evaluate and discuss students. This is the time that questions and concerns regarding applicants are discussed. Approximately one third of applicants, or 45 students, with the highest rating are then invited into the program. Out of the 45 applications accepted for the and school years, the following descriptive statistics apply: YEAR of Entrance # New Students Concentration Gender Race CMHC= 18 School = CMHC= 18 School = 7 Female= 20 Male = 7 Female = 20 Male= 5 Caucasian= 24 Other = 3 Caucasian = 23 Other 2
3 2. Formal follow-up studies of program graduates to assess graduate perceptions and evaluations of major aspects of the program. There are three methods that graduates provide feedback to Villanova s counseling program. The counselor preparation survey for alumni (Appendix A) is distributed to past graduates every 3 years. Graduates also complete a service satisfaction survey (Appendix B.1) and an academic experiences survey (Appendix B.2) every 3 years. The results of these surveys have informed changes to the program over the past few years. 3. Formal studies of site supervisors and program graduate employers that assess their perceptions and evaluations of major aspects of the program. Two surveys are distributed to collect the perceptions that site supervisors (Appendix C) and employers (Appendix D) have for the programs students. While the response rate for the employer survey is less than we would hope for in the future, the site supervisor survey offers some extremely positive feedback about our students as well as some areas for improvement. During the Internship I class, the professor visits each student s site and meets with the site supervisor. The professor completes a field site supervisor orientation checklist (Appendix E) during the visit to ensure all critical elements are covered and to open up lines of communication throughout the academic year. 4. Assessment of student learning and performance on professional identity, professional practice, and program area standards. Student Learning Outcomes Each program standard is linked to a precise Student Learning Objective (SLO). Each of these SLO s is assessed through elements of signature assignments that are given in a particular program courses. As students complete the program courses that address and assess for SLO s, they receive a 1, 2, or 3 for each SLO covered (3= exceeds expectations, 2= meets expectations, 1-does not meet expectations). The program course matrices outline the exact courses that assess for each standard (Appendix F). Students who receive a score of 1 for a particular SLO either do not pass the class, or work directly with the course instructor outside of class to make sure the knowledge/ skill area becomes satisfactorily understood/ practiced. During the 2014 year (Spring, Summer, & Fall courses), six students received one or more scores of 1 ; these students either did not pass and therefore will repeat the course or worked individually with the instructor outside of class to rectify the SLO score. Professional Performance Review (PPR) Faculty evaluate every student according to the PPR categories at four time points during their course of study. Additionally, if there is a student of concern prior to or between one of these
4 evaluations, the PPR process goes into effect immediately. Please see Appendix G. for the statement concerning student involvement in PPR s in the recent past. Skills Assessment At the start of the academic year, a skills assessment was implemented into the counseling skills course, which is also utilized in the Practicum and Internship courses. This tool (A modified version of the Counseling Skill Scale- Appendix H) allows faculty to evaluate student progress or lack thereof in critical areas of skill development. To date, all students who have progressed through these courses have been found to possess satisfactory counseling skills. Practicum and Internship Evaluation Twice a semester, site supervisors complete a student evaluation in practicum and internship experiences. These evaluations are critical elements of their on site evaluation and therefore progression through the program. Any red flags found on these evaluations are dealt with immediately by the instructor and the student. An example of the Clinical Mental Health Student Evaluation can be found in Appendix I. Counselor Comprehensive Exam The Comprehensive Examination, graded pass/fail, requires students to integrate information from a number of courses in the Counseling Program. The examination is required for all students in degree programs, including those obtaining a second Master's degree. Students may take the comprehensive examination when they have completed 30 credit hours, including all required courses on Levels I and II. It is recommended that a student take the comprehensive examination as soon after completing required courses as possible. The examination is offered once during the Fall, Spring, and Summer II semesters. Specific dates are published each year in the Villanova University Graduate Studies Catalog for the Arts and Sciences. Detailed instructions and guidelines for registering, preparing, and taking the examination are available from the Departmental Office and are mailed to each student upon the department's receipt of his/her application to take the examination. Applications and examination policies remain available in the department s main office. Villanova students continue to perform very well on this exam in comparison to the national averages (see Appendix J). Failure Procedure: In the rare event that a student should fail the Comprehensive Exam, the student will meet with a faculty advisor and an immediate plan of action will be implemented and signed by the student. In taking the exam a second time, eighty percent (80%) of the exam will be objective, written questions, and twenty percent (20%) of the exam will be oral.
5 5. Evidence of the use of findings to inform program modifications The data from each of the above sources is discussed in faculty meetings and used to better the counseling program. Appendix K presents a list of some broad areas brought to the department s attention as needing adjustments to which the program has responded. Additionally, the program s Annual Report (Appendix L) lists additional modifications and evaluations that occurred during the past year.
6 Alumni Survey Report The purpose of this report is to present the findings from a survey sent to alumni of the Counseling Master s Program at Villanova University. The survey was sent to a total of 357 alumni and of these alumni responded (19% return rate). Fifteen questions were asked and participants responded using a 4 point Likert Scale (1= unprepared, 4= well prepared). The mean scores, standard deviations, and sample size for the 15 items are presented in Table 1. Overall, most of the mean scores were in the mid to high 3s, indicated that on average alumni believed they were adequately prepared. On the upper range of scores, alumni on average believed they were adequately prepared with knowledge of ethical standards and on how to form counseling relationships (M=3.7). On the lower range of scores, alumni on average believed they were poorly informed of technological resources for counselors (M=2.7) and adequately prepared in group counseling (M= 3.07). Table 1. Means, SDs, and Ns for Alumni Survey Based on your experience in Villanova s Counseling Program, please indicate the extent to which our programs prepared you for your role as a counselor. 1=Unprepared, 2=Poorly Prepared, 3=Adequately Prepared, 4=Well Prepared Mean Standard Deviation Commitment to personal and professional growth Commitment to the profession Knowledge of and commitment to high ethical standards Active engagement with professional organizations and activities pertinent to the profession Commitment to supervision and feedback Knowledge and application of individual counseling theories Knowledge and application of group counseling theories Knowledge and application of theories of human growth and development Knowledge and application of assessment/appraisal processes Knowledge and application of career/lifestyle development counseling theories Knowledge and application of developing effective counseling relationships Total Responses
7 Knowledge of multicultural/pluralistic characteristics of diverse cultural groups Knowledge and application of current and emerging technological resources for counselors Knowledge of research and program evaluation and the ability to read, critique, and utilize professional research literature. Knowledge and application of evidence based practices Alumni-School Counseling Below, Table 2 includes means and SDs on items specifically asked of our school counseling Alumni. Scores are based on responses from participants. All Mean scores were in the 3s. Results revealed that these respondents felt most prepared to collaborate and consult with other stakeholders in the school and community (M=3.73) and least prepared to conduct research to improve the school counseling program in which you work (M=3.0). Table 2. Ms, SDs, and Ns for Alumni School Counseling To what extent did the program prepare you in the following areas? 1=Unprepared, 2=Poorly Mean Standard Deviation Total Responses Prepared, 3=Adequately Prepared, 4=Well Prepared Ability to implement a strengths-based, ASCA model school counseling program and demonstrate ethical practice Understanding of and the ability to promote academic development Ability to promote the personal and social development of students and build protective factors in the school environment Understanding of and ability to promote career development and post secondary access and success Ability to act as a leader in the school and community Ability to collaborate and consult with other stakeholders in the school and community Ability to conduct research to improve the school counseling program in which you work
8 Alumni-Clinical Mental Health Counseling Below, Table 3 includes means and SDs on items specifically asked of our clinical mental health counseling Alumni. Scores are based on responses from 19 participants. Mean Scores ranged from 2.74 to Results revealed that these respondents felt most prepared to Understand the diagnostic categories within the diagnostic and statistical manual (M=3.16). On the other hand, participants on average felt least prepared to develop and implement client treatment plans (M=2.74). Table 3. Ms, SDs, and N for Clinical Mental Health To what extent did the program prepare you in the following areas? 1=Unprepared, 2=Poorly Prepared, 3=Adequately Prepared, 4=Well Prepared Ability to develop, implement, and evaluate individual client treatment plans. Understanding of the diagnostic categories within the diagnostic and statistical manual Understanding of the most appropriate theoretical approaches and evidence based practices for working with the population with whom I currently work Ability to evaluate current research literature about best practices for treatment Ability to develop, implement, and evaluate individual client treatment plans. Mean Standard Deviation Total Responses! The qualitative responses presented below in Table 3 provide some further elaboration upon the mean scores presented above. Overall, strengths of the program noted include dedicated and passionate teachers and practical instruction. Many students commented positively on the knowledge of counseling theories gained in the program. Overall, several themes around weaknesses of the program included: the group counseling course, lack of preparation for school counselors specifically (need more integration of ASCA Model for example), lack of rigor in courses, lack of multicultural training, lack of practicum and internship placement opportunities, and lack of advisement. Respondents were also asked for suggestions for improvement and many noted that CACREP accreditation would remedy some of the weaknesses of the program. Lastly, respondents were asked whether they would recommend the program to a friend. All responses are included in Table 3 below. Table 3. Qualitative Responses from Alumni What were the main strengths of the program?
9 Adjunct professors who worked it currently worked in the field Nicholas Rosa was the only strength of the program. The counseling theories and skills courses; the wonderful professors; the ability to learn more about myself through the courses and experiences Fantastic teachers with real world, relevant experience. Very hands on and I enjoyed my classmates contributions as well. I feel the course workout Networking, internship experiences, collaboration with local school districts, strong alumni base Practical opportunities to practice counseling skills dedicated educators. the knowledge base and skills i learned in class are helpful on daily basis in my work. Quality teachers who displayed a real interest in helping the students succeed. Overall good class room environment that was conducive to learning and rapport building with other students. The adjunct facility was great. They combined both theory and experience in their teaching. Courses in psychopathology, assessment, theories and careers were good. There were many, I felt I was well-prepared for the position - counseling skills, orientation, processes, human development, special education, assessment, practicum and internship were all strong classes Professors who worked within the fields; individual and group counseling practices; availability of staff for advise/feedback The professors really made you work personally on the theories in an applied way it was a hands on program unlike other programs in the area, The teachers were willing to work with you and had good office hours. Job placement and networking was pretty good too. I have a strong foundation of all kinds of counseling, populations, and theories. School Counselor Orientation (Dr. Koslo-Stall, not sure of spelling) was highly valuable and could have been expanded. Many passionate and caring professors at the time (Davis, Rosa, Tierno, Murray) Great profs with professional experience. nothing, I decided to go somewhere else to get the education I needed to succeed in this field There was certainly a strong emphasis on ethics and licensure in this program. Professors with experience in the field, internship experiences and class (Craig Cunningham was a wonderful internship professor!), felt very prepared for interviews Schmidt's courses-- Theory, Practicum, Internship. They had substance, required hard work inside and outside class, and were directly relevant to the field, there was strong connection/communication with our field supervisor and what we were doing at our internship. I did feel prepared when I left the program because of those factors and in particular the practicum/internship experience. Also the Instructors who came over from the Psychology dept. and/or the university counseling center were very good. Much more rigorous and had plenty of relevant case experiences to share (psychopathology course, sexuality workshop), the department office has several women who are very organized and helpful with paperwork side of things. Outside of class opportunities to see speakers, attend conferences, etc. Research Methods (was taught by Mason at the
10 time) was a strong course, challenging, in depth, and relevant. professionalism of educators The program has many strengths, but it was the personal interactions with trained counselors and faculty, and the care taken to mentor each student in their weak areas, that impressed me most. Faculty truly cared that I would finish program with all the training needed to be a competent and caring counselor. The internship class was the most valuable and the only class that helped to prepare me for the field. wonderful experience. Enjoyed majority of my teachers, felt like they really wanted us to do well. Craig Cunningham is priceless! great community counseling classes. felt very prepared when it came to counseling techniques and group counseling. Overall Counseling skills, very in depth. The enrichment programs (honor society, law-counselor collaboration, internship) and 1 credit workshops available to explore other interests in counseling Internship and Practicum experiences Dr. Fierros once told us that ear buds can be used as a microphone by connecting them to a computer headphone jack and talking into it. This little piece of information is one of the best pieces of information I gained throughout my experiences at Villanova. I have a few students that rely on using Dictation to Speech on their laptops since they cannot type; and since they don't want to be disruptive by speaking out loud in class, whispering into the ear bud works PERFECTLY. Ultimately, it comes down to theory vs. practice. While it is good to talk about all of the theories, etc. etc., I wish I had learned more little tricks of the trade. These tricks help my students greatly; and helping my students is what truly matters. Fr. Murray and Dr. Khan were wonderful professors. Also, the role play in windowed room and group class was beneficial The consultation portion of the program. Great teachers The program provides an eclectic and broad range of theories and orientations. Counseling foundations, helping relationship, and quality of professor experience. Heavily clinically based with a focus on practice with competent professionals I loved the classes for internship. Because my internship was not a good placement, it was a safe space to talk about that. Caring and dedicated professors, and professors who were active school counselors. relatively well-rounded Incredible professors and mentors Professors/faculty. Craig Cunningham's real life experience. faculty, courses were interesting and challenging, atmosphere and comfort of the environment Jody Lerner's theories course where we engaged in counselor-client dyads behind the two way mirror was without a doubt the most helpful learning experience I had in the program. Receiving immediate feedback regarding core counseling skills is extremely helpful in helping us grow and evolve as counselors. I heard a rumor that this part of the
11 course was discontinued a couple of years ago. Not only do I think it should be brought back, but I think it should be a two semester long course. This is the kind of practice we need in order to be prepared for the field of counseling. Counseling theory and techniques Individual support from the professors was amazing. I felt I could go to any professor at any time for personal or professional support. Starting out the program with the group class was very beneficial because it got me into the right mindset for the program and made me get to know people in my program on a very personal level, which immediately gave us all a student support network as well. Craig Cunningham's class was also extremely practical and helpful...he gave actual situational advice that I still use with my caseload now. On the whole, the professors were fantastic. The group dynamics course and theories courses were very good and allowed us to practice the utilization of those theories and gain immediate feedback. I feel that the majority of what I learned from the program was in the intro class, practicum, and internship. The introductory class with Craig in our first semester was extremely informative and gave us lots of real world examples of what to expect. The practicum and internship experiences were helpful because of the hands on experience but also the sharing of experiences with classmates. I do also feel that the diversity class with Mallot was a well developed class. The work load was a little too intensive, especially for second year students like myself who had internship, other classes, and a job but the content of the course was really well communicated and interesting. Supportive and knowledgeable staff, my advisor/mentor Dr. Malott (very accomplished and knowledgeable in the profession. Also introduced me to ACA and research work). The Creative therapies course change my perspective in a good way, as well as the Group and Multicultural counseling courses, but multicultural awareness needs to be more infused throughout the rest of the program courses. Faculty. They were extremely knowledgeable in both theory and practice. This combination is key to preparing practitioners The instructors I know my theories! I also feel like had excellent guidance on developing the counseling relationship. Learning strategies for how to advocate for students and the profession was also a strength of the program that I still utilize on a daily basis. I found the faculty on the whole to be wonderful (with the biggest exception being Dr. Monig-- she was clearly behind the times and I found her to be a poor educator). assignments in the internship experience! What were the main weaknesses of the program? Job placement Most of it was theory. All of my references died, making it very difficult for me to get a job. Needed more of a variety of 1 credit weekend specialty courses My only negative experience was the internship class. I felt like there was no understanding and judgment even for working in an urban school. There could be more professors with experience working in urban schools. When I attended VU's program from , there was little focus on the ASCA
12 model. I am quite certain that it is now heavily infused into the program. Also, at the time, there were no required courses about working with students with special needs, so I had a large learning curve when employed in my first school counseling position. I also felt that there should be greater emphasis placed on how to effectively run schoolbased small groups. The Group Dynamics class was interesting, but unrealistic to the type of experience you have leading a small counseling group of students. Lack of college counseling preparation lack of attention to the practicum and internship placement process. very poor rating on this. Expensive -think program should be less money. There was no clinical training or instruction for group counseling. The instructors sat back and left the group on its own. This course was the weakest in the program. Missed the theoretical aspects of group counseling and how to effectively run groups; definitely could have used psychopathology and crisis intervention; career development class was weak No course or workshop on death, dying and bereavement multicultural connections and working with outside groups, research asca model application, it was pretty new back then though, we were just starting to look at the year I graduated also the internships ranges were very limited and no one wanted to go in the city(philly). The general classes (as opposed to specifically school counseling courses) provided little experience for working with children. I think the individual and group counseling techniques were more suited for community settings, could have been more focus on the practices and policies of school counselors in k-12 educational settings. Research Methods. I wasnt able to take the prescribed course as it wasnt being offered the semester I needed to graduate. Instead I had to take a research class that was intended for Education Majors professors not wanting to help students and thinking they are much better than everyone else I felt the program addressed many topics in a very surface level way. I felt extremely unprepared for my first job and had to overcome a steep learning curve when I began. Minimal education regarding 504 plans, Minimal education regarding counselor evaluation in school districts There were a number of professors who did not seem to prepare mastery level material (many reused undergraduate powerpoints). As a result it felt that the main weakness of the program was the lack of rigor, depth, critical thinking, or any advanced level work around some of the more complex topics within counseling. There were 1 or 2 very strong professors and the rest that seemed to be coasting through with very minimal prep for classes and little to no grading/feedback/time spent outside of class. Felt more like an undergrad human services (giving the must surface overview of most topics) degree than an advanced professional degree in counseling. The orientation to counseling course could be much stronger given this is the base of the program in many ways and your introduction or grounding in the profession -- we covered 4 chapters the entire course and it was cursory at best majority of time spent just talking and looking on ACA website. Also the group dynamics course (no theory of groups, research on its
13 effectiveness, never discussed stages of group, benefits of screening, etc.-- instead it was 15 weeks of class being run like a group where we just talked for 2 hours to each other as if we were in a group...very frustrating and didn't prepare me to lead a group. I ended up getting a group text book from a different professor and reading it in my free time so I could lead a group at my internship. I don't know if its run this way still or not.) Some professors very out of date both with materials they were utilizing and technology (materials in human dev course on families etc. from early 70s and 80s...family structure/compostion/struggles has definitely evolved in almost 50 years) needs of students in urban settings (ie: working in schools with limited resources and diverse needs), technology, limited diversity in colleagues & professors None The program lacked a real world focus and professor with recent experience in the area. I feel there was very little difference between community/mental health and school counseling classes. not enough focus on what school counselors actually do- college/career, crisis management, financial aid, etc not enough career development education that mirrors what you need to do in the profession - helping kids with the college search process, financial aid process, etc. that's where i spend most of my time as a high school counselor and was most unprepared by my graduate degree to do that. Networking and Certification processes, college counseling for high school counselors I was not prepared for the college/career counseling aspect of a school counselor's role the program is not CACREP accredited. Interview skills Laboratory I was really luck to have been a graduate assistant for Dr. Mallott. She challenged me in ways that I had never been challenged before. She truly believed in me and helped me grow. Students who were not graduate assistants are at a much greater disadvantage. They were simply not in-the-know about things such as certification requirements and testing dates. I don't think I would have landed my dream job if I didn't have the guidance of Dr. Mallott. She is a positive mentor who believes in all of her students. I speak not only by personal experience, but I have also seen her mentor two undergraduates in a similar way. ALSO, the internship class was WAY TOO LARGE. There was another internship class running during the same semester at a different time, which only had 4 or 5 students in it. That class got a much better internship experience than my class did! The large group class did not have as much personal attention as the other class, and much of the stories that were shared were of similar themes rather than varying in situations. One would think that a larger group would mean more variety to what we hear, given that we all interned at very different schools, but simply that was not the case. Essentially, working in very small groups or one-on-one is key. Better academic advisement would have been helpful.. State certification, LPC, etc.. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to practice newly acquired counseling skills as well as learned more about running a group. Not enough "real" practice of counseling The interventions that were taught relied too heavily on verbally-based techniques; the program needs to include more practical-based interventions, including activity-based, experiential and non-verbal interventions.
14 Level of consistency of course material covered within various sections of the same course. Varied from professor to professor. Building of professional network and resource management for practice in the field was not promoted within cohorts enough. Need for fuller alumni connection Individually focused. Could have had more of a focus on the various types of treatment for individuals such as in home services I found that there wasn't enough guidance to secure an internship/practicum. Mine was horrible. The Assessment/Appraisal class did also not prepare me well. I also thought that while I loved the counseling theory class, I only learned the theories that my professor favored. Some of the materials were outdated and didn't reflect the most current trends or research in school counseling. Theory class was extremely poor. Instructor read off of slides. Little to no mention of EBPs across the program. I was not aware of any. Need more school based exposure no weaknesses. any problems I ever had were addressed and handled quickly We were on our own to find internships. While we received a packet of places previous students had interned no additional information was provided. This internship is the single most important part of the program and therefore it would have been helpful to receive guidance from within the department. I lucked out because one of the first places to call me back ended up having an incredible supervision program in place. I was able to have consistent client interaction, both individual and group, as well as daily supervision. Clinical approach Communication regarding requirements (my class was the first to implement the new hour requirement and the practicum, neither of which was communicated to us until after we began the program), and support in finding placements for practicum and internship placement (there was no support, nor was there anything from the University to offer our supervisors, even though I know that there are placement supports and incentives for both undergrad and graduate education placements. I found the placements myself and paid for gifts out of pocket.) There was also not a huge emphasis on practical, on the job, situational knowledge The course that taught about diagnoses was poor. I learned more in my undergraduate course than this course. This was a crucial class in the program and I did not learn anything about the population i was going to be working with. There was little to no focus on the ASCA model and how it effects counseling programs. Also, there were very few applicable theories we learned in class. In a school setting there isn't time to use most of the theories you learn about. There should be a class that focuses on college counseling because that process was not really covered and is a HUGE part of most counseling programs. Possibly one of the most frustrating aspects of the program was there was no direction for what we needed to do after we graduated. We were all unaware our certification expired after 7 years and that we need to complete a certain number of continuing ed credits to receive our permanent certification. The fact that things like this were never mentioned to us seem ridiculous.
15 Lack of multicultural awareness and diversity throughout the program's curriculum, student body, and staff. Also lack of preparedness for conducting research literary review and writing publishable research articles. Lack of CACREP certification Group dynamics class The group counseling class--we really need to know theory as well as HOW to run a group. It's not CACREP, which, in hindsight may have swayed my decision to go to VU Also, it was unfortunately that we never video recorded ourselves and had critique--that would have been phenomenally helpful, especially in this age of technology. Makes VU seem like it's behind its peers. Lastly, and I don't think many programs do this, teaching us methods of practical data collection in schools rather than just telling us it's important. I'm finishing my 4th year in the profession, I am still not great at this. For school counselors, this is more important than, say, the stats class (even though I think stats is also essential). cannot think of any! What suggestions do you have for improving the program? Hire people that work(ed) as school counselors who actually know what the ASCA model is, something we were never taught. From what I have been told, the program has gotten away from the applied counseling skills and humanistic foundation that the program was founded on. The program has shifted towards research; the newer professors are too young and too scholarly to bring practical counseling experience to their students. The program needs to get back to the way it was when Nick Rosa and Ken Davis built it. I cannot tell you how much Nick Rosa meant to me as a counselor and an individual. He was the perfect example of what a counselor should be. Help securing internships and guidance on finding careers after graduating From the Secondary School perspective, I would I'm sure many valuable changes have been made since my 2003 graduation date. While I loved my experience, I believe the adjustments were likely made to better reflect the changing role of the school counselor and to instruct students on the ASCA model, the value of data-driven practices, and the need to understand our role in working with students with special needs (IEPs, 504s, ELL students, Gifted students, etc.) More attention to helping student develop. I recall my advisor telling me that advising wasn't really her job. Mentorship is huge in our wide open field of counseling. The program needs to offer better support for student/professional development. And of course more concern and support for internship placement. The program is too devoted to its long time faculty at the cost of the students education. VUâ s reputation as a quality clinical skills based program may be slipping due to a new emphasis on research. Obtaining CACREP accreditation will allow me to change my answer to this question. Add more community mental health information to the school program - crisis and psychopathology; CACREP certification would be nice; dual certification would help graduates differentiate themselves in an extremely competitive job market; additional programs/help with getting NCSC certification and LPC licensing
16 Bereavement services are a growing need in the community. Offering at least the weekend workshop on death, dying and bereavement would be beneficial to those not only in the field itself, but those in general practice. Using the asca model from a multicultural perspective as it does work too tidy in an urban area. More field experiences not just in the suburbs, more connections with outside agencies as counselors work alot of with outside agencies. Not to lose the personal hands on and deep personal exploration and counselor development, otherwise VU does not stand out among its peer institutions. To much research and not enough hands on leaves counselors really ill prepared. Scholarships for counselors who want to rough it out in urban areas. More technological training, not every one coming in the program is 22 years old, some need a boost in that area. Any exposure to actual experience in the field is helpful, so increased opportunities for observation, practice, and experience would be helpful. There is a lot more to learn about k-12 settings than could be condensed into the School Orientation class. Much of the program was aligned with community counseling standards which weren't as valuable to me as an eventual school counselor. I'm sure Career Development has continued to evolve, which it would have needed to. Better supervision of counseling internships would have been valuable as well. In addition to Dr. Davis, Dr. Rosa and others - I really enjoyed having the actual K-12 employees teaching courses (Koslo-Stall and others). Suggest the students venture out to Chester County for internships and practicums. the whole program needs improving especially the professors. I felt very torn in the program. I was constantly busy, but the work did not seem challenging. I learned nearly everything at my internship site. I wished we used more complex articles and discussions, and engaged in more thought provoking discussions. I wish we had utilized more role plays or watched more videos. I do not know if we did not do this due to the level of applicants. Additional education in case management of 504 plans and teacher/counselor evaluation plans in a school district It seems like there possibly needs to be more monitoring of instructors other than just seeing their syllabus. (Are there actually class assignments? What are the quality of the feedback given on those assignments--- I cant tell you how many papers I got back with few to no markings on them and an "A" put on the last page. No sense of what was good or bad and no motivation to work hard on the next assignment. How do they guage student progress? Are professors permitted to utilize/re-use power points and materials from their undergrad or other courses? Had a number of courses where professors were clearly recycling material (Luquet, Malott, etc.) from their undergrad classes (or other classes they teach within the counseling program)---which is fine if it happens to still be relevant in a particular topic but not always and how are you extending or refining that material for Masters level course? Professors spend much more time on subjects/populations they like or are interested in and gloss over others. Exit interviews with students at the completion of the program (better yet at the end of the first year or the end of each semester) Increase the intention/quality of advisement--- how does advisement differ at the
17 graduate level than undergrad? Are advisors meant to just hand out pin numbers? What is their role? Professional mentorship? Professors who are in some sort of private/clinical practice currently? Many students will exit the program and go into an entry level job often in difficult areas with struggling populations. There is very little preparation for this part of the profession-- many of the professors offer strategies/case studies/etc. focused on the "working well" and the main line private practice client and very little for more difficult, complex, hard to manage clients. Less group projects--- So many courses where out of the 15 classes 2-3 classes are devoted to "working with your groups" and then 5-6 classes are spent listening to group projects. I see some benefit to group collaboration but at this point students are not paying to make a project or listen to other people at the same point as I am present information that they googled. Require research or a thesis of some sort from students. Group dynamics course that offers the theory, EBP in groups, understanding of goal of groups, opportunity to facilitate or co-facilitate, maybe watch other groups being run on video, info on different types of groups, etc. Could it ever be required that entry level psych course is required as a pre-req? Some of the information felt like a repeat of undergrad psych (humand development). Require prof to use up to date materials and technologies (not research journals from the 70s, handouts on type writer, VHS tapes, etc.) would be great if program offered staff from diverse backgrounds & professional experience Villanova faculty need to know the students they are teaching in their courses and address any weak areas they may have. Not every person has what it takes to be a good counselor, just because they are paying tuition, that is not a guarantee that they have what it takes to be a successful counselor. I would find a better way to hire actual practitioners. I would also evaluate the current faculty more closely as they are not really in touch with the issues in the school. This program required very little effort to get through, and that is a direct reflection on the faculty. career advising, job coaching Having more teachers who are actually practicing school counselors teaching the classes about school counseling. Focus on what they will be doing in a school setting.- ethical concerns, college/financial aid procedures. Love that the program has added the necessary special education and ESL classes, but being taught by education professors instead of counselors means that it gets lost in a counseling setting. It'd be nice to have more practicing school counselors teaching those courses. Professional Networking '- Better communication between department and students - Academic advisers who actually counsel you on career/educational goals and not just " you the password to register for classes" - Have a variety of professors teaching classes - Have a class specifically for college access counseling with a component on using Naviance - Revamp the special education curriculum so that students are aware of special
18 education laws/policies and techniques on how to work/counsel effectively with students who have special needs - Crisis course should be mandatory for School Counseling track students Obtain CACREP accreditation again. 1) Villanova should be accredited. 2) Villanova should recommend students to certify K-12, and should make it easy to do so. I was told many times that I had to choose between elementary and secondary, where other universities (UPenn) makes it easy to dually certify since their program is "Professional School Counseling" A DSM class for school counseling would have been a good elective option Spend more time on "real" counseling and getting feedback from it to improve techniques As in a previous question - the program needs to include more practical-based interventions, including activity-based, experiential and non-verbal interventions. Traditional talk-therapy interventions work great for high-functioning clients, but don't always meet the needs of individuals presenting with cognitive barriers, clients on the spectrum or clients with severe and chronic mental illness. Building of Networks (Alumni, Internship partnerships, Professional development Quality assurance throughout program. Consistency More diverse understanding of programs More clarity in the program in general. There were lots of changes when I was in the program and we never knew if we were getting correct info. Need a better framework for theory into practice. Give the instructors a raise! Again, I'm a few years removed from the program, but I think more can be done to prepare students for licensure. The program should be 60 credits. I had to return to Villanova after graduation to take 4 additional courses for licensure. I also think there should be different tracks (i.e. trauma, substance abuse, etc.). See feedback in weaknesses ensure the diagnosis class is taught well. I learned the most from my internship, so ensuring students have good placements. First suggestion would be to have advisors for students who are in their same concentration. Having an advisor who was on the other track and only taught me a class during my first semester was incredibly unhelpful. I think by strengthening this connection a lot more organization could be had by the program. My next suggestion would be to have classes that actually are pertinent to school counseling. I felt the program was heavily focused on community counseling. Adding classes that have to do with ASCA and college counseling would be huge helps. If classes can't be added making sure these topics are getting covered extensively would be helpful. Promote more involvement in professional identity through conferences and organizational memberships, Infuse multicultural awareness/counseling throughout all courses of the program, require more writing and involvement of research for students who want to pursue a doctoral degree in the near future, and most important make the program 60 credit so that students have meet the credit requirement for LPC. I
19 graduated short of 6 credits because of the lack of options of classes to take in my second year, and ended up having to pay for the 2 courses out-of-pocket after I graduated; a debt that I am still paying. Further support with developing a personal counseling theory Teach with and about technology. Students really need to know how to be good data collectors, and this isn't easy to just figure out in the hectic pell mell that can be school counseling life. VU should absolutely become CACREP--it may lose students to competitors because of that. Start early to go through scenarios that we might encounter in internship. I felt unprepared for a few, not having the ideas or knowledge that apparently my internship supervisor thought I should have about use of specific techniques. The one example I can provide is that I did not anticipate the use of thought-stopping for one student. I was part-time in the program and perhaps this was just covered much earlier in the program, so the technique was not top-of-mind. How likely would you be to recommend the counseling program to a friend or colleague?(please explain your choice.) Likely Unlikely I would highly There was only one course that taught me anything about recommend the program school counseling and it was poorly taught. that I went through; however, my impression is that the program has changed since I attended Villanova. I felt as though I was a strong candidate for employment with a VU graduate degree. with some disclaimers. Well rounded program- Like the diverse 1 credit weekend seminars offered-need to continue with that Professors were up-to-date with relevant information in the field. Internships were obtained by students with their individual focus in mind. Failure to provide CACREP accreditation has left me at a professional disadvantage. I feel the best days of the program are behind it, it feels like the program is no longer cohesive, more like individual part-time professors doing their own thing I feel there are other programs that better prepare clinicians in this field. I do notice it's a work in progress and that even by virtue of having this survey there are efforts being made to improve. I'm grateful for the opportunities I did have at Villanova and the professors who worked hard and have been supportive of me. hope I will eventually recommend the program, but unfortunately I would advise a friend to look for an accredited program that gave you more value for your money and time. It's very frustrating to sit in a classroom where you feel the person is fluffling their way through,
20 I always do I still think it is an exceptional program Compared to colleagues from other programs, I feel that Villanova prepared me when for the field. Practitioner oriented, good ties to active professionals. I know the personnel has changed greatly since I have been there, so it is hard to judge. I feel I got a great education at villanova Great experience and learned tons. My classmates and I were all employed immediately following graduation I would make them aware they can find similar education for much cheaper, however I think the program overall is great. giving you the bare minimum, and you aren't getting the critical information and skills you need for your work and that you're hungry for. very expensive program for what it offers the only draw to the Villanova program is the deep discount provided for educators. Communication with students and department was lacking, not prepared for college counseling or counseling student with special needs, group dynamics course was not useful, not enough diversity among professors Unfortunately, it is not CACREP accreditated. It makes the program weak Villanova is not accredited. I felt like the program was very unorganized and that I did not learn nearly as much from my classes as I expected. When you have a cheaper competitor like West Chester just down the road that is CACREP accredited, VU is a tough sell. With that said, overall, I think it is a good program. it was a great program! Very applicable program for private and public sector, my internship site seeks out Villanova counseling students. I got good value out of the program I recommend the program to anyone who does not want to pigeon-hole themselves into one orientation (e.g., CBT). The program adequately prepares individuals for the field of work Great education and felt well prepared when entering my first counseling practice However, if you move to 60 credits, it becomes hard to recommend the program to
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